Training Trends Through 2020 and Beyond

In today’s constantly evolving business environment, one fact will always be true – negotiations are the foundation of any successful business relationship. As more business activities continue to move online due to the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic, business leaders of every industry must stay up to date with training trends to equip their teams with the negotiation skills necessary for success in this unprecedented new market. Fortunately, established organizations have offered sales and interpersonal training for years, with many of these programs located online. With the lockdown restrictions implemented this past year, companies have implemented or expanded online activity in their business models, creating a significant demand for training services offered digitally.

According to The Industry Report, the total US training expenditures of companies in 2020 totaled $82.5 billion, half a percent less than reported in 2019. Training payroll also dropped almost 18% to $42.4 billion. Considering how many millions of employees lost employment during this period, these comparatively small reductions in spending demonstrate companies retain a commitment to training their employees, even during a global health crisis.

Increase in Online Training for Sales and Interpersonal Skills

In ATD’s 2020 State of the Industry report, researchers collected data from 283 different companies of various industries, sizes, and business locations. In 2019, the average learning expenditure per employee amounted to $1,308, a small but significant increase from the $1,299 spend per employee in 2018. Employees recorded an average of 34.7 learning hours in 2019, versus 34.0 hours in 2018. In contrast with previous years, more learning hours occur on technological platforms, including e-learning courses and virtual live classrooms.

To determine the extent of COVID-19’s impact on business training trends, online training organization Simplilearn conducted a study surveying Human Resources and Learning & Development professionals worldwide. This survey’s results verify that the majority of companies previously offering in-person classroom instruction have transferred these educational programs online. 70% of respondents shared that, before COVID-19, these programs were in-person only or were a combination of in-person and online classroom components. After COVID-19 caused massive shutdown orders to slow the spread of the deadly virus, 86% of respondents whose companies originally offered exclusively in-person classroom training before the pandemic are now utilizing online platforms for these training sessions.


Increase of Learning Hours of Self-Paced Online Learning

The Simplilearn study also discovered a marked increase in learning hours consisting of self-paced online training rather than online instruction. 56% of respondents receiving online training stated that they use online training that features a live classroom component, while 44% utilize self-paced video courses that do not feature a live component.


Incorporation of VR and AI as an Ideal Way to Scale Training

With most businesses conducting their negotiations online, one of the most exciting training trends is online training providers incorporating virtual reality and artificial intelligence into their programs. Virtual reality (VR) consists of special software and hardware designed to create an experience based on an illusion, providing visual feedback that causes the user to feel as if they are located in a different setting. The simulated world fully encompasses the user, and scenes track participants’ movement. Hence, your field of view shifts as you move your head in an organic way similar to what we experience in real life.

Online training programs apply artificial intelligence (AI) to adapt and control the virtual reality experience, making it more personalized and engaging, in addition to providing useful feedback and analytics that inform our understanding of learning and behavior. The combination of VR and AI in online training sessions supports users while expanding beyond their comfort zones as they participate in immersive simulations and exercises. Such training offers superior quality training that may be self-paced to accommodate each user’s schedule and progress. It also reduces the expenditure necessary for in-person training, enhancing the business’s bottom line while offering a more exciting training experience that results in better retention.


Shapiro Negotiations Can Guide Your Business Into the Future

The only guaranteed way to significantly advance the negotiation skills of your team, especially in the ever-evolving market of today, is through professional online negotiation training. For over two decades, the team of world-class experts at Shapiro Negotiations has facilitated more than $2.5 billion in sales, training over 250,000 people in 27 different countries. Created with the support of scientific data and implemented with experience, our program boasts an impressive record of helping employees increase opportunities, conduct more successful negotiations, and navigate conflict.

With an ROI of over 300%, Shapiro Negotiations is proud to be the industry-leading negotiation training company in the world. To learn how we can guide your team into this new business environment, contact Shapiro Negotiations today. You can coordinate online negotiation training by calling (410) 662-4764, emailing us at, or submitting the form on our website.

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